Kanye West brought the latest stop of his infamous Yeezus tour to his birthplace in Atlanta, with a show that mirrored the full-circle nature of the location.
For all his rants and media interviews, Kanye said, “In Atlanta, in the place I was born, I’m excited tonight that I’m not gonna say nothing.” He couldn’t contain himself completely. And after asking permission to “talk his shit again,” retold the story of working with Nike before switching to adidas. There wasn’t any need to repeat himself, as the audience was full of people quoting some of his infamous rants (“You ain’t got the answers, Sway!”).
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But ‘Ye mostly focused on the positives. Maybe he was caught up in the moment, singing the autotune story of how his parents met in Atlanta. Shortly after, he dedicated “Coldest Winter” to his deceased mother, writing it shortly after news of her death.
Maybe his rants and epic performances already made their mark. During his show in Nashville earlier in the week, Kanye sang, “I talked to the head of Disney today. And I talked to the head of Louis Vuitton today. I swear to God on my life, I talked to them both today. I swear to God I talked to them both, and they wished me a Happy Thanksgiving. I said, ‘I want to talk about something that isn’t turkey day. I want to talk about something different. I want to talk about dreaming.'”
Kanye kept fantasizing in Phillips Arena, as he sang about dreamers and haters, then calmly explained an autotune metaphor. “I used to be in the shower singing, I would like think of something cold and think it sounded so good. And then I would sing it and that shit would sound terrible, before autotune.”
He continued, “I was gonna show love to Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton for giving me a shot and for giving Pharrell a shot, to actually work with the fabrics at Louis Vuitton. Because, you know what? When you work there, that shit is like autotune. Like, you can have an idea and that shit come back so good, it come back so fresh, and the world reacts to that shit. And people tell me, why don’t you do it yourself?” He paused and sang, “Cuz when you do it yourself it would be like if I sang without autotune.”
After singing about how rappers and black people in Atlanta are the ones buying their products, and that without rappers name-dropping those products they’d be selling without autotune, he sang, “So it sounds to me, like we need each other, don’t it? We need each other, don’t we? And we gon’ sit down and have a conversation, won’t we? Cuz we need each other, don’t we?”
It marked the culmination of incredible shows that were more performances than concerts. Kanye’s intricate set design was unlike any other, with a climbable mountain/volcano/iceberg, depending on the circumstances. The 60-foot screen above the set created an intense atmosphere and was well worth the 10-day delay to reinstall. The theatrics and his brilliant handling of the crowd were enough to defy his most ardent critics, and possibly left even more room for his ego to grow.
After all the shows, Kanye said Atlanta might have seen the best show on the tour, as an all-star lineup of southern hip-hop royalty was in the building, including 2 Chainz, Wayne, Jeezy, T.I. and CyHi. He thanked the South for welcoming him before shutting down the arena with incredible performances of “Blood On The Leaves," “Heartless," “Good Life," and “Runaway.”
He closed with “Bound 2," thanked the crowd, the lights immediately came, and as he walked off the stage, another chapter in his book was written. But after the performances, rants, and now, a mea culpa, what will be written next?